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Archive for March, 2010

a toilet paper emergency

March 30th, 2010 at 07:29 pm

I saw a bit on the news the other day about how the local pantries are desperate for toilet paper. They are so low, they are only giving families one roll per month. They are trying to get 80,000 rolls donated next month. For some reason I never thought about donating toilet paper to the pantry. I guess because it's something that stores forever and I just keep it for myself.

Anyways Walgreens has 12 big rolls of Cottonelle on sale for $4 with their coupon and I had 2 $1 q's that expire tomorrow so I went to Walgreens today to pick up toilet paper and their other freebies this week.

Transaction #1

10.00 - 2 12 ct Cottonelle tp
4.00 - Dove shampoo
2.00 - Dentek dental floss
1.25 - tax
-----
17.25
-2.00 - 2 $1 manufacture q's for Cottonelle
-2.00 - Walgreen q from their April coupon book
-1.50 - Dove q
-1.00 - Dentek q
-----
10.75

I got back a $4 register reward for the Dove and a $2 reward for the Dentek, so I made money on those two items after the coupons

Transaction #2

4.00 - Dove
2.00 - Dentek
.47 - tax
----
6.47
-1.50 - Dove q
-1.00 - Dentek q
-----
3.97

I got back another $4 and $2 reward, so again made money on these 2 items.

Everything I got will go to the food pantry for April.

2 12 ct rolls Cottonelle toilet paper
2 bottles Dove shampoo
2 packages dental floss

I got a sample in the mail yesterday of Kelloggs All Bran cereal and Bran Buds and they will go to the pantry also.

I finished reading my book Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. Supernatural - very good.

March pantry totals

March 29th, 2010 at 07:32 pm

I made another trip to King Soopers to pick up a few more free things for the food pantry. One of the reasons I go to the grocery store so often is King Soopers has a coupon policy of only 3 like item coupons per transaction. So if I have 8 coupons I have to make 3 transactions. Plus I find coupons for sale items thru blogs I read or the Sunday newspaper comes out with good coupons.

15.00 - Gift Card
4.00 - 4 Scotch Brite sponges
1.50 - Betty Crocker warm delights
3.00 - 2 Ronzoni spaghetti
.48 - 1 tomato
1.98 - 2 I can't believe it's not butter
1.98 - 2 Bumbleebee tuna
-----
27.94
-4.00 - wyb 8
-2.00 - 2 .75 Scotch Brite q's doubled
-1.00 - .75 Betty crocker warm delights q doubled
- .50 - ecoupon BC warm delights
-2.00 - 2 .75 Ronzoni q's doubled
-1.98 - 2 .60 I can't believe butter q's doubled
-2.39 - 1 free tuna - huge overage on this
-----
14.07 for a $15 GC

The pantry gets:

2 Ronzoni spaghetti
2 Bumbleebee tuna
1 Betty Crocker Warm delights

I budget $20.00 a month for pantry donations and hope to donate at least 100 items each month.

I spent $21.55 - a little over budget, but last month was under a little bit
I dontated 114 items
@ cost .05 each
Total cost before coupons = 125.03

I also made it to 600 grocery points so I will get .60 off gas next time I fill up.

My parents went on vacation last week. Before they left I asked them not to buy me any stuff. Mom wanted to know why and I told her I don't need any more stuff. She said I had to let them buy me lunch for picking up the mail while they were gone if I wouldn't let them buy me stuff. I don't like getting paid for helping out, but would rather have lunch than more stuff. Anyways she brings me a bag of stuff today and I'm thinking oh no, more stuff. It was 4 cans of pumpkin Smile cool! Stuff I can use since I can't find pumpkin in the stores here, which she knows. It was funny. She said when she was in the checkout line several people wanted to know where she got the pumpkin since they said they weren't able to make pumpkin pies at xmas since they couldn't find any pumpkin. This was in Missouri. She got one can for herself too.

I finished reading the library book Born of Fire by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Supernatural - very good.

Using my IRAs to pay for my health care

March 28th, 2010 at 08:43 pm

Part of my plan for retiring early is to keep my income very low so that I remain in the 0% tax bracket. According to the IRS I can earn the following before being bumped to the 10% federal and 4.5% state tax brackets.

$3650.00 - exemptions
$5700.00 - standard deductions
$ 500.00 - if I pay property taxes and don't itemize
--------
$9850.00 - 0% tax bracket
$2000.00 - if I fund an HSA
--------
11850.00
+ if I have more than 5700 in standard deductions I could earn even more and remain in the 0% bracket. These are 2009 figures and it may go up some in 2010.

In 1997 I started working for a big company which had a pension plan for it's employees. They froze the plan one year after I started working there. When I retired the company gave me the money that was in the plan. It had grown to a whopping $3906.00. In this situation the pension is treated like an IRA. The fund reserved 20% to pay taxes before passing the money on to me. Frown

If I just spent the money on living expenses I would pay taxes on the money as income and also owe a 10% penalty for early withdrawl. However, if my income with the pension/IRA dispersal is less than the amount to tip into the 10% tax bracket I owe no income taxes on the money.

If I spend the pension/IRA money on medical expenses, including health insurance premiums, dr visits, prescription drugs, lab work, eye glasses etc, I don't have to pay the 10% penalty. There is a caveat on that. You can exclude the amount you paid for unreimbursed medical expenses during the year minus 7.5% or your adjusted gross income for the year. And the IRA/Pension distribution contributes to your gross income. Figuring out the exact amount to withdrawl ahead of time can be tricky unless you know exactly how much you are going to earn for the year and exactly how much your medical expenses will be. I plan to ballpark it in the future and if necessary pay a small 10% penalty on the extra.

So for 2009 I had income including the pension distribution of 7765. My medical expenses were 3140 multiplied by 7.5% means 2558 was exempt from the 10% penalty. That left 1348 to pay the penalty on so I paid $135 in taxes last year and got the rest of my 20% that the fund withheld back as a rebate. To do this you have to fill out form 5329 and select exemption 05. There are only 4 lines on the form so it's not that difficult, plus you don't have to itemize your deductions to do this, you can use the standard deduction, but you do have to have reciepts to back up your claim on how much you spent on medical if the IRS ever asks thru a random audit.

This year I will be withdrawing $5000 from my IRA to pay for medical expenses. This is a ball park figure based on needing to pay $4500 for health insurance and a guesstimate of another $1000 - $1500 in out pocket expenses. My income can be higher since I can open an HSA fund so I shouldn't have to pay income taxes on the withdrawl and the penalty may be anywhere between 0 and less than a $100.

I could take the money from some other funds and not use my IRAs. I know the money gurus always tell you to leave this money till the last, but I have good reasons for doing it this way.

1. Most of my money is in IRAs.
2. Currently I'm in a 0% tax bracket, you can't get lower taxes than that. Taking the money now means less money I will be forced to take out when I am 70 and collecting social security and our government has raised taxes thru the roof to fund all the spending they are doing now.
3. It preserves my other funds, especially my cash for emergencies.

Until I am 59 1/2 and can withdrawl the money without penalty I will try to continue to use this method of funding my health care expenses. That's a little more than 10 years, this could be $50,000 or more preserved in my other funds and money that I won't have to pay taxes on, or very little taxes.

I finished reading my book Beyond the Dark. Supernatural short stories - very good.

health care insurance after COBRA

March 27th, 2010 at 07:38 pm

When I retired in August 2008 I immediately signed up for COBRA. The COBRA benefits ended February 28, 2010 so I had to get new health care insurance this month. When I worked I paid about $32 a month for health care insurance with a $400 deductable and $20 co-pay plus drug benefits. I kept that same coverage for the rest of 2008 and 2009. In 2008 I paid 182.26 a month for COBRA health care. In 2009 it went up to 212.28 a month. In 2010 my company changed providers and I went to a $1000 deductable and the price went to 372.00 a month. But I only had 2 more months to stay on COBRA and I would be HIPPA eligible so I stayed on.

Being HIPPA eligible is a big deal if you need health care and have pre-existing conditions like I do. It's basically the only way you can get health insurance in my state. Around December 2009 I started looking for my replacement health insurance for when COBRA ran out. I called a health insurance broker that a friend of mine recommended. She was terrific. After talking to me awhile about my sitution she made some calls and found out that in Colorado my only option was to go on the Colorado government health plan - CoverColorado. No private insurers offer HIPPA plans in Colorado at this time. The goverment plan is not cheap and tells you so right in the literature. They basically say this is your only option and you're going to pay for it.

For a plan with a $1000 deductible the monthly payment is 572.03 - $6864.36 a year. The $2000 deductible plan is $440.52 a month. I chose to take the HSA (Health Savings Account) option of $2000 deductable and a monthly premium of 379.45 or $4553.40 per year. With the HSA I can open a tax savings account and leave the money in there until/if I have a major medical expense. Or until the new health care plan starts taxing the plans. I read somewhere that is in the new bill.

It's a ton of money - over one third of my annual expenses will be going to medical care. At least I have it, but I very much doubt things will get better with the new Obama plan, although I might eventually have more options than the government plan.

I finished reading my book Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs. Supernatural - very good.

Friday grocery shopping

March 26th, 2010 at 07:57 pm

Safeway is having a .75 cent sale on several pantry items when you buy 4 or more. Many of these items are perfect for food pantries. I went this morning and got the following:

7.50 - 10 boxes Kraft mac n cheese
4.50 - 6 boxes Pasta Roni
6.00 - 8 cans Chef Boyardee
----
18.00
-2.00 - 2 $1/5 Kraft mac n cheese q's
-2.00 - 2 $1/4 Chef Boyardee q's
-----
14.00

I thought I hsd coupons for the Pasta Roni until I was checking out and realized they were Knorr's Pasta Sides q's. Bought them anyways since they were a good price for the pantry.

I also got:

5.00 - 4 Suave 24 hour deodorant
.33 - taxes
-----
5.33
-6.00 - 2 $3/2 q'a
-----
.73 profit

I got a travel size of Tide for free after 1.00 q and a bag of salad for $1

At King Soopers they still have their $4 off wyb 8 deal, so I got some more pantry stuff plus a few groceries for me

4.50 - Advil PM
4.95 - 5 pouches Bumbleebee Tuna
4.50 - 3 boxes Ronzoni spagetti
2.79 - 1 Ore Ida Hash Browns
2.00 - 2 Scotch Brite sponges
.99 - Vitamin Water
2.65 - Lays potato chips
3.38 - 2 Oscar Meyer Lunchables
-----
25.76
-8.00 - 2 $4/wyb 8
-2.00 - Advil PM q
-3.00 - 3 .75 Ronzoni q's doubled
-1.00 - Ore Ida q
-1.00 - .75 Scotch Brite q doubled
- .99 - Vitamain Water Free item q
-2.00 - 2 $1.00 Lunchables q's
-----
7.77

The 3 spaghetti's and 5 tunas go to the pantry

I also got the following

1.76 - 2 dozen eggs @ .88 each
3.98 - 2 loaves Earth Grain bread
.98 - I can't believe it not butter
1.00 - 2 Cadbury cream eggs
1.21 - 1 large potato
2.29 - 2 tomatoes
.15 - 2 ribs celery
.40 - 1 onion
1.02 - 5 bananas
-----
12.79
-2.00 - 2 $.55 q'a Earth Grain doubled
- .98 - I can't believe it's not butter
-1.00 - OYNO q from Monday
- .10 - 2 reusable bag credit
-----
8.71
-1.00 - she must have scanned one of the q's twice.
-----
7.71

Total spent on food for me was: 14.03
Total spent for the pantry was: 14.85

The pantry will get:

10 boxes mac n cheese
8 cans chef boyardee
6 boxes pasta roni
3 boxes spagetti
5 pouches tuna
4 deodorants

That uses up all my budgeted $20 for the food pantry with some of the things I got earlier this month. I had only spent a little over $4 till now.

At King Soopers I got a Sunday only subscription to the Denver Post for $28.35 for 6 months. Plus he gave me a $5 King Soopers gift card so really $23.35. Just under $1/week. It costs $1.50 buying direct. Not as good a deal as I have gotten in the past, but better than going out to buy it every Sunday. I already have one subscription but I like to have 2 for the extra coupons. I put the cost of the paper in my food category since the only reason I buy it is for the coupons. It generally pays for itself in about a month.

I got my tax refund $646.00 so that's good, took just over a month.

I finished reading the library book Torch of Freedom by David Weber and Eric Flint. Sci/Fi - very good part of the Honorverse series.

fun splurge day

March 25th, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I took my youngest niece to see Alice in Wonderland today. We both liked it. Because it was 3-D they charged us $3 more. What a rip-off. $18 for 2 tickets. $3.75 for junk for her. All the previews we saw were for upcoming 3-D movies. I wish they would just show them regular, I don't think 3-D adds that much to the movie.

Then we went to Coach House gifts in the mall. I collect mythological art, especially dragons. I have several pictures by Nene Thomas. They had beautiful sculptures of the same pictures I have. I splurged and bought 2 for $140

Here's a link to the first one

http://www.faerieglennj.com/nt142.html

and the second one

http://www.faerieglennj.com/nt137.html

We went to Red Robin for lunch where I spent another $19.95 and then on to Target. Finally some bargains. I got a Connect 4 game, 2 Monopoly Card Games and a Scrabble Card Game for $3 total. These will go to Toys for Tots in November. The card games were all $5.24 and the Connect 4 game was $7. I had two $5 coupons for the Monopoly games and then a buy 2 get 1 free for the Scrabble game. The cashier gave me $6.99 for that q even though I told her the game was $5.24. I had a $4 q on the Connect 4 game.

I also bought 3 books, and a 3 qt crock pot. Total spent $40.13

A big spend day for me, but since it's rare it's not a big deal.

I finished reading the library book Spntaneous Healing by Andrew Weil. Non-fiction. Interesting to think about, but I don't totally buy it.

do nothing day

March 24th, 2010 at 06:20 pm

We got 8 or more inches of snow yesterday and it's still snowing today. Even though I already don't do anything special most days on snow days I slow down even further. Just the knowledge that you couldn't go anywhere even if you wanted seems to make the day more relaxed.

I woke up later than usual since the light is different when it snows, makes it seem earlier than it is. Then I've just been mosying around the house. I worked on my jigsaw puzzle for a while. I got the frame finished. I see that there are labels for the wildflower pictures, so that's cool. They are too small to see on the picture. I'm going to need my glasse to read them when it's done Smile

I watched a cooking show on TV. Now I'll play on the computer for awhile and then maybe take a nap this afternoon. And finally a book. But since I read books everyday that's no different. But I usually walk once or twice a day and sometimes shop and do a few chores, but since my house is clean I don't feel like I need to do anything. Just a slow, relaxed day.

Finished reading my book Dreams of Stardust by Lynn Kurland. Romance - very good. I love her books they are so sweet and lovely. My favorite is This is all I ask.

a bargain luxury

March 23rd, 2010 at 09:09 pm

As I wrote earlier I got a cleaner again after I retired. I asked myself if I had tons of money what would I change about my life, and the only thing I could come up with was to get my house cleaned once a month. My upstairs is about 600 square feet. 2 bedrooms, a bath and a 10 x 10 storage room that I turned into my craft room. The 2nd bedroom and bath are only used once a year or so. My craft room is too messy to have anyone in there and my office has things piled around that I'd just as soon not have people look at, so I only have the cleaners clean the stairs and landing. The downstairs is around a 1000 square feet. Living room/dining room, kitchen/laundry, a half bath, master bedroom and master bath. I have the cleaners do all the downstairs, around a 1000 square feet total.

Two cleaners come and they finish in about an hour and 15 minutes. They charge $25 an hour, so $62.50. I feel that this is a huge bargain. I hate house cleaning and having my whole house clean at once is wonderful. It's also a luxury since I could do this myself, I just don't want to. Smile

After the cleaners leave I usually start a new jigsaw puzzle on my dining room table. This gives me plenty of time to complete it before they come back. Last month though I had a 1000 piece puzzle that I got from the trift store and it was missing 2 pieces. It was only 1.99 and provided many hours of entertainement, but it was disappointing to have the missing pieces. I often buy jigsaws from the thrift store and garage sales and this is only the second time that I've had missing pieces.

The new puzzle is 1000 pieces and called Wildflowers. A bunch of individual boxes with a different type of wildflower in each box. It would have been a lot more interesting if they had labeled each box. It was a gift from someone and looks fairly simple. I like really difficult puzzles that are least a 1000 pieces. I figure if I'm going to start a puzzle I want a challenge that will take me some time and make my brain work Smile

I finished reading my book Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Supernatural - very good. This is a really good series.

Till Debt Do Us Part

March 22nd, 2010 at 06:34 pm

This is a TV show that plays on CNBC on Saturday nights, but I just got around to watching it last night. I don't know why I watch this show, I think it's like watching a car accident. Couples who have serious money problems are counseled by a financial adviser and shown how to get their act together. I don't really care how people spend their money. I don't make any moral judgements as long as they have the money and it doesn't hurt anyone else. But there's a kind of shock and awe seeing what people spend their money on when they are deep in debt.

One woman lost her job and went out and bought a $1500 puppy. Really? That's what you think is important when you have no money coming in? How are you going to feed that puppy? One guy bought 5 sets of golf clubs. Just totally clueless.

Anyways by the end of the half hour show and about a month of their lives, the couples have seen the light and are on the straight and narrow to get out of debt. I wonder. I'd like to see them go back in a year and see how those couples are doing. People who are used to indulging themselves with whatever they want whenever they want don't usually change overnight.

I finished reading the library book Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card. Sci/Fi - very good. I really like how he writes characters, especially children and I really like the dialoges he has between and with the children.

more grocery shopping

March 21st, 2010 at 07:46 pm

Went to King Soopers today and bought some more groceries. The receipt says I saved 78%. I spent 19.21 total, 3.25 for food pantry items. I haven't even spent $5 of the $20 I have budgeted for this category this month, even though I've bought lots of groceries for them, I'll have to catch up.

Free items

q = coupon
wyb = When you buy
OYNO = On your next order
BOGO = buy one get one

8 packages Bumbleebee tuna .49 cents wyb 8 - 3/.55 cents q's doubled and 1 $1/5 q

6 Snickers candy bars .50 cents and I had 3 .50 cent q's that doubled

2 boxes Ronzoni Penne pasta 1.00 wyb 8 - 2/.75 cent q's that doubled

1 box Ronzoni spagetti 1.00 wyb 8 - .75 q that doubled

1 Betty Crocker warm delight 1.50 - .50 q that doubled - .50 ecoupon from shortcuts

1 bag Chex Mix 1.50 - .50 q that doubled - .50 ecoupon from shortcuts

2 jars Plantars Dry Roasted peanuts 1.99 wyb 8 - 2/$1.50 q's and then there was a q on the jars for $1/2 that the cashier rang in while ringing the order. I told her I didn't want to use that one since I had better q's but she said I could use both, so it made them free.

Cheap

2 packages Oscar Meyer bacon 3.00 - 2/$1.50 q's and I got a $1 OYNO q when I checked out. These were beautiful, so often the bacon looks like you're just buying fat, these had a ton of meat and looked wonderful

4 packages Land O Frost turkey and ham 3.49 - 2/$1 q's and 2 BOGO q's. I see a lot of soup and sandwiches in the next week.

1 box Advil PM 20 ct 4.00 wyb 8 - $2 q

2 Ore Ida hash browns 2.29 wyb 8 - $1.50 q

5 boxes Kraft Mac n chees - .85 - $1/5 q

Not on sale but needed

Denver Post
4 bananas
1 rib celery
3 brussel sprouts - I'm going to try roasting these since several people recommended them but in case I don't like them I just got a few. I love that the grocery store sells small portions of veggies now. I used to waste so much which was another reason I didn't like to buy veggies. How long are brussel sprouts good for?

I'm over 500 on my gas points, (400 from buying gift cards) so .50 cents off a gallon next month - I don't know if I'll make it to 600 points

The following items will go to the food pantry

8 packages Tuna
3 packages Pasta
1 Betty Crocker Warm Delights
1 bag Chex Mix
5 boxes Mac n Cheese

I have a batch of beans going in the crock pot for dinner today to which I'll add the left over sausage from earlier in the week. I've gotten a ton of free or really cheap (.25 cents) Mission tortillas in the last 3 months. I have 2 in the freezer and 1 in the refrigerator, I've used one and given away 9. I've been making various versions of tortilla chips with them. Tonight to go with the beans I'll make garlic chips.

Preheat oven to 350

Put tortilla(s) on cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Cut into 8ths using a pizza cutter. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper. Cook 8 - 10 minutes. These are very good and you can store them in a baggie and microwave for 30 seconds at your next meal.

I've tried several variations on this in the last month and this one is my favorite, but I like using Red Robin seasoning or Cinnamon sugar also.

I finished reading my book The Magical Christmas Cat - Romantic short stories. Very good.

I saved $200 by quitting work

March 20th, 2010 at 06:34 pm

One of the great things about budget billing for your utility bills is you can really see what difference certain actions make to the bottom line.

When I worked I worked from my home most of the time, so I had my work laptop, monitor, printer, stereo, lights in my office and ceiling fan going 8 - 10 hours a day or more and 5 or more days a week. When I quit working I only use that room 1 - 2 hours a day for my personal computer. I retired in August 2008 right after my yearly electric bill adjustment. The next year I had almost a $200 surplus and they modified my electric bill from $48 a month to $29 - almost
$20 a month. So that one change saved me more than $200 in a year. There was a substantial rate hike that year too, so it was probably much more in saved electricity and money.

I finished reading my book Pegasus in Flight by Anne McCaffrey. Sci/Fi - ok

This is ridiculous

March 19th, 2010 at 06:33 pm

I live in a small town about 20 miles outside of a big town. Right next to me are two other small towns, thus the name tri-lakes for our 3 towns. Each town has approximately 8000 people. When I first moved here in 2001 we had a branch library and a King Soopers and Safeway for groceries. For fast food we had Arby's, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Subway and Burger King. The Burger King has since closed. For chain restaraunts there was Rosie's Diner and Village Inn. There was one pizza place and 2 liquor stores and about 10 banks.

Since then we've had an explosion of building. Three or four years ago we got a Chili's. That was a big deal because now there was a new place to go out to eat. Then we got a Super Walmart. That was terrific since it meant we didn't have to drive all the way in town to purchase small household items.

After that we quickly got a Kohl's, Staples, PetSmart and a Texas RoadHouse. Our favorite restaraunt. And finally about 2 years ago we got a Walgreens and my bank opened a branch here. Finally everything I needed and no need to go in town. Everything is within 5 miles of each other.

However now it's getting ridiculous. For some reason Walgreens decided to open another store 4 miles from the first one. How ridiculous. Today is their grand opening and it's snowing. We're supposed to get 15 inches by tomorrow.

Now we have 2 McDonalds, 3 Subways, 2 Walgreens, 4 liquor stores, 4 pizza places, and at least 20 banks. Why do we need so many of the same things so close together? We also have had multiple restaraunts open and close in the last 3 years. There's not enough population to sustain that much eating out. It must be the same people who keep building the new houses behind me when there are already almost 20 for sale and have been for over a year.

Ah well, maybe the Walgreens will have some good grand opening sales.

I finished reading the library book The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell. Mystery - very good.

lagniappe

March 18th, 2010 at 06:51 pm

Dictionary meaning:

1. Chiefly Southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas. a small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of compliment or for good measure; bonus.

2. a gratuity or tip.

3. an unexpected or indirect benefit.

I'm always trying to get a little extra with everything I buy and stretch that buck just that l-i-t-t-l-e bit farther.

This month Discover is paying 5% back on groceries - up to $200 worth. It would take me 3 months to spend $200 on groceries. I could buy grocery gift cards and make it last longer that way. Instead I bought $200 in gift cards to Target, Subway, McDonalds, Chilis and Red Lobster from King Soopers. This way I not only make the $10 bonus for the 5% cashback, but since King Soopers doubles gift card purchases on their gas points I got 400 in gas points or .40 cents a gallon.

My car takes between 10 and 11 gallons to fill up so that is at least 4 more dollars. But I will also fill up 2 five gallon cans giving me $8 more than the original $10 I would have gotten back.

Then when I get $20 in rewards at Discover I will cash that out for a $25 gift card to Borders stretching that a little more. At Borders I will use the gift card with coupons for 20 - 40% off books getting more free books.

About a third of the gift cards I got at the grocery store will be used for gifts and the others will be used with coupons and early bird specials to stretch them a little more.

And since I will pay the credit card off with money from my checking account that earns a tiny bit of interest I will make a few more cents on that money before sendinig it in.

Paying online saves another 44 cents.

That's what I call lagniappe Smile

I finished reading my book Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Supernatural/Romance - very good.

veggies for breakfast

March 17th, 2010 at 07:34 pm

Ihate mornings. I always have. When I used to work I would always chant the "I hate mornings" mantra in the shower Smile I rarely do that anymore since I wake up when I want to. However I'm still not prepared to do any thinking first thing in the morning. So breakfast is always something very simple, usually cheerios and a piece of fruit. Sometimes celery and peanut butter and fruit, assuming the celery has already been cut up for another meal. Or sometimes I fix a batch of oatmeal for 6 meals and nuke it - this is always good.

Anyways in my quest for eating more veggies I came up with the following recipe which I really like. Tastes great nuked. It's a combination of two other recipes I saw online.

Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal

Serves 6

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked oatmeal
1 16 oz can pumpkin
6 individual packages of Splenda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Cook the oatmeal as the package directs.

Add the pumpkin and spices to the oatmeal and stir together.

Pour into baking dish

Top with chopped walnuts

Bake for 30 min

If you are reheating this I put it in the microwave for 3 min and add milk.

The only problem is I want to make some more when this batch is done and I used my last can of pumpkin from before xmas. I have been looking for canned pumpkin for awhile and Walmart hasn't had any for 3 months. I checked King Soopers yesterday and they didn't have any either. Next time I go to Safeway I will have to check there.

I got several samples in the mail today from P&G sampling. 3 diapers (which will go to the food pantry), a sample of Tide with Febreeze and 2 samples of Metamucil.

My brother lives in a more rural area than I do and took some food to the food pantry down there. The guy inside told him, "See all those cars lined up outside, those are people who just sit there waiting for someone to come in and leave anything. They will take anything you bring in." That's so sad, that people are in that situation. I know when I go in to ours on Monday it's a zoo, people lined up for food and I live in a small town.

I finished reading my book Seven Deadly Wonders by Matthew Reilly. Action/Adventure - very good.

I've printed off several frittata recipes and that will be my next experiments in adding veggies to breakfast

money makers, free, free except for taxes and cheap

March 16th, 2010 at 08:00 pm

I went shopping this morning and got several items.

Walgreens moneymakers

I did 4 seperate transactions using a gift card that I had purchased from previous register reward deals.

4 5.8 oz tubes of Colgate Total toothpaste # 3.99 = 15.96 + 1.28 taxes = 17.24 - 4.00 coupons = 13.24 and I got four $4.00 register rewards back giving me a profit of $2.76

I will put the $16 on another gift card and use it for the next round of deals at Walgreens

Safeway moneymakers

I went to Safeway and purchased 4 bottles of Marie's dressing which was .99 when you buy 5 of participating items. I bought a bag of salad as the 5th item. I used four $1 coupons so I made .04 cents

They had a sale buy one get one free on Reeses peanut butter cups @ .99 cents each. There was a coupon for .55 cents off in Sundays paper. The coupon doubled to $1.00. I had 2 coupons so I got 4 Reeses peanut butter cups for free and made .02 cents.

Safeway Free stuff

At Safeway I also got a dozen eggs for free $1.39. I had a coupon for these.

Free except for taxes

At Safeway I also got 3 trial size boxes of Tide at .99 cents each. I used 3 $1.00 coupons so got these free except I paid .21 cents in taxes.

At King Soopers Reach dental floss was $1.00 and I used a $1.00 coupon to get this for .08 cents taxes

Cheap

King Soopers also had 12 ct Mission Tortillas on sale for 1.25 I got 2 and used 2 .75 cent coupons that doubled so I paid .50 cents for the 2 packages.

Not free or cheap but necessary Smile

1 gal milk
1 large potato

The following will go to the food pantry

4 tubes toothpaste
1 package dental floss
4 bottles salad dressing
2 packages Mission tortillas

Spent $4.49 total on all groceries
.53 cents of that was used for the items that go to the food pantry.

I think I'll have a baked potato and large salad for dinner tonight.

Finished reading the library book The Spellsong War. Sci/fi - pretty good. One of the things I find interesting about this series is the main character is a Singer on earth who feels she is overweight. She is a size 12 which is pretty average I think. Anyways she gets tranfered to another world where singing is magic. And when you do magic it takes energy so she finds she has to eat constantly to keep alive since she uses so much energy/magic to survive the world she is in. She complains about how stuffed she always feels and how it upsets her digestion to eat all that food. She talks about being sick of food. Interesting turn around on the normal problem of always wanting to eat more vs gaining weight.

were you scared to retire?

March 15th, 2010 at 07:24 pm

This is another question I get on early retirement. Especially since I retired in the middle of what some have called the Great Recession.

I was fortunate that my retirement was planned so I had sufficient cash set aside and was not forced to sell assets at a loss. Also, I had lived thru several other recessions, and while not happy about the losses, I wasn't panicked. My attitude was all losses were merely paper until I cashed in the assets and locked in the losses. I knew that if I just waited most, if not all, of those losses would be recouped. Since that time I have regained half of my losses and expect to regain the rest in two or three years.

While not excessively worried about my losses I wanted to track what I was spending and make sure my money would last as long as I projected. I didn't want to have to go back to work at some point in the future. In 2009 I tracked every dollar I spent. I used broad categories that worked to tell me what I wanted to know about my spending. To my surprise I spent much less than I had expected, but I was completely satisfied with the results. I spent money on the things I wanted. I don't feel that I deprived myself of anything I would have spent money on if I wasn't tracking it.

In fact in September I asked myself the question, "If I had unlimited money, what would I change about my life?" and the only thing I could come up with was to get my house cleaned once a month. So I hired a house cleaner. I also started tracking charity late in the year. My charity consists of buying as many groceries as I can for around $20 a month and donating them to the local food pantry. Using sales and coupons, I averaged over 100 items a month to the pantry with that $20. Previous to tracking the amount I was spending on this category separately it was tracked with my grocery spending.

My total spending for 2009 was $14,326.32. My house was paid off so I didn't have a mortgage payment. I was still on COBRA, which was much cheaper than a personal health insurance plan will be in 2010 and I didn't pay my property taxes in 2009. I had paid them in 2008 to take the deduction for the previous year when I was still earning a salary and instead of paying them early like I did when working I will now pay them in the year they are due. So 2010 will not be as inexpensive as 2009 was, however I expect to keep expenses well below $20,000.

The following is a list of the categories and totals I spent in 2009. I have a huge miscellaneous category since everything in miscellaneous is stuff I need or want. Things like plumbers, movies, new frying pan, clothes, taking nieces out to eat, new tires etc. Everything not in another category. I don't really care how much I spend on clothes or entertainment etc, just as long as it's resonable and Ijust want to track the overall amounts.

Food $ 592.25
Eat Out $ 1,120.71
Utilities $ 2,077.08
Gas for the car $ 387.95
HOA $ 1,980.00
Xmas $ 531.81
Gifts $ 823.98
Miscellaneous - everything else $ 2,745.59
Insurance (car, house)$ 782.80
Health $ 3,175.82
Charity $ 108.33

Total $ 14,326.32

I finished reading my book Soul Deep by Lora Leigh. Supernatural/Romance very good.

so are you still happy?

March 14th, 2010 at 08:28 pm

yes, yes, yes, yes - I can't tell you how much I love being retired. I haven't blogged in a long time now, but I plan to start up again. I retired August 2008. The other day I met an old office friend in the grocery store and she asked me if I was still happy with my decision. Absolutely, love it, love it, love it.

However, if you asked me what I'm doing it would be lame stuff like reading, jigsaw puzzles, walking, cooking, shopping for bargains. I can't really understand where all the time goes. It doesn't fell like I have tons of time to do nothing. There is always something, but the great part is you rarely have to do anything right this minute. There seems to be enough time to do everything and if you don't get something done today - eh there's always tomorrow. Most of the really important things are automated like paying bills.

Occassionally things come up that have to be worked on, like taxes or I recently had to find replacement health care when my COBRA coverage ended. And while there is some stress involved, mostly it's worked on a little at a time until it's done.

I've spent a lot of time in the last couple of months testing recipes that have more vegetables in them. I'm trying to find good tasting, easy recipes so I will eat more veggies. I've found I really like the taste of roasted veggies. I've tried several that I never had before like parsnips, turnips, fennel, butternut squash and zuchini. I really like the parsnips and can live with the others.

Last night I made Roasted vegetables and sausage with a mustard sauce. So good. I got the recipe from a magazine but don't remember which one. You can use a variety of veggies for this, I've done it with parsnips and fennel and last night I added zucchini since I had some left over.

Ingredients:

1 med onion
3 med Yukon gold potatoes
3 large carrots
2 large ribs celery
½ lb beef sausage or polish kielbasa

Sauce:

2 tblsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp thyme
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Cut vegetables and meat into 1 inch chunks

Put carrots and potatoes on one baking pan.

Cover with olive oil, salt and pepper and mix.

Put in oven for 15 minutes

In a big bowl make the sauce

Put onions and celery in sauce and coat.

Use a slotted spoon and put onions and celery on separate baking pan.

After the carrots and potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes add the sausage to their baking pan.

Put both baking pans back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Put all the vegetables and meat in the bowl with the leftover sauce and mix thoroughly.

This makes 2 big meals for me.

I made some cornbread to go with it and since I had some leftover grated Gruyere cheese I sprinkled it on top. This turned out really well. I think I might try it with a Mexican blend next time, since I have some in the freezer.

I finished reading the library book The Soprano Sorceress by L. E. Modesitt Jr. Sci/Fi - pretty good.